Tag Archives: sin

what do i do when i don’t get the blessing?

blessing blog

I’ve been writing this one in my head for a few weeks, so it’s probably time to put it on internet paper.

With graduations and engagements and weddings and new seasons in general, I’ve seen a lot on social media about God being so good because people are so blessed.

I get really excited when people acknowledge that we serve and are known by a good, loving, gracious, merciful God who gives His children good things.
But I get pretty bummed out when we only acknowledge Him along with completing a degree, getting engaged, receiving a promotion, getting pregnant, starting a new relationship, get a new car…insert “good thing” here.

I believe those things are all good things, and again, it is of utmost importance to recognize that good gifts come from our good God. That, ultimately, we don’t earn or deserve what we have – it has all been given for us to steward and use for God’s glory.

But what happens when I don’t get the blessing?
Is God still good?

What happens when:
I fail a class and have to retake it, putting graduation off for another year…
My boyfriend breaks up with me because he’s just not feeling it anymore…
I receive a formal reprimand because of relational friction in the workplace…
I have miscarriage after miscarriage and just don’t understand why my body isn’t cooperating…
Both of my grandmas get cancer at the same time…
Friends that I thought would be by my side forever have now rejected me and I have no idea why…
My car gets totaled in a hail storm…

Is God still good?

Or have we become a people who condition His love for us, and dare I say, our love for Him, along with what He gives us?

Tonight I’m going to the church I grew up in to open up a youth rally with some worship time. I’m going to play a song that has these lyrics:

Though You slay me, yet I will praise You
Though You take from me, I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me, still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need

I’m straight up nervous about this one because I know it will rock some worlds.

“Umm…nah…I’m not interested in that God.”
“If God is good, He wouldn’t take from me.”
“But doesn’t God just want us all to be happy and feel good all of the time?”

James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Do you know what God’s Word says is perfect? God’s love & Jesus’ life.

Jesus is the perfect gift.
Jesus is the good gift.
Jesus is the blessing that none of us deserve but all of us can freely receive.

My blessing isn’t that I receive every material gift I’ve ever wanted and have no hardship in life.

My blessing is that the God of all creation sent His one and only Son to live a life that I cannot live – a life free from sin – die a death that I deserve to die because of my sin and rebellion against His perfection, and raise again on the third day so that I am now made spotless, whole, complete in Him.

I’d rather have that blessing than anything this world has to offer.

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psalm 7

Remember that time I talked about not being very disciplined so I was going to write daily?

Yeah.

I’m not very disciplined.

But, we’re back!

Psalm 7.

I am really loving David’s writing. In this psalm, the first place he longs to go is to God.

(verse 1) O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me

The first inclination of his heart is to recognize who God is and his own posture before the Lord – taking refuge in his Maker.

And once that is settled:

(verse 3-5) O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it…

Once David knows, and reminds himself, of who he is and Who’s he is, he repents. He asks the Lord to examine his life and rightly judge him.

I am often so quick to heap shame and guilt upon myself because of my sin. My first inclination is to be wrecked by how sinful of a being I am. I don’t take the time to give God credit for Who He is and what He has already done for me through the blood of Jesus on the cross – redeeming my soul and taking the final, final punishment for all of my sin and offense toward a holy God.

When I don’t initiate my repentance with recognizing God for Who He is – a holy, righteous, just, and loving God – I am prone to believe that Jesus’ sacrifice isn’t good enough and I am irredeemable.

May it not be so!

May we know that God is a righteous judge, but because of Jesus, our redemption is final and the judgment has been settled – we are victorious because of Christ!

Now go read the rest of Psalm 7.

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suck it, February

Holland

I’ll be the first one to say it: February sucks.
I really don’t like it.
Praise Jehovah it’s the shortest month on our calendar.

It’s so dark & cold & usually wet with snow, ice, or just cold water in general. It’s dreary and lonesome. The holidays are over. There’s nothing to look forward to.

February sucks.

It is historically my hardest month. I think I cry more tears in February than I do in other months. I definitely know this February I did.

One of the reasons I think it sucks is that it comes right after January – a month of fresh starts and new hopes for the year. It comes right after a time of renewal – when we pledge that this year is THE YEAR we will see X, Y, and Z through. We promise ourselves we won’t fail this time around. That we have changed. We are better people than we were last year.

And then…

FEBRUARY.

We have failed. We stopped before we ever really got started. We haven’t changed and we aren’t better people.

February reminds me that I am incapable of being my own savior – and that is hard. Mainly because I have control & trust issues & still sinfully hold on to the thought that God doesn’t want me if I don’t come to Him clean.

February has seen some high spots too. My most fun Galentine’s to date (bar’s raised, 2017…). New friendships developed & strengthened. My first car payment cleared the bank. But overall, not the greatest month I’ve ever had.

This February I have felt my loneliness in deeper ways that I have in a while. I have felt the enemy attack me in ways I thought he couldn’t touch anymore. I have felt like a failure in my job & to my friends.

Have I mentioned that February sucks?

But, praise God, today is March 5th. And you know what that means? February is over.
The despair of the month no longer has a hold on me.

February is like the darkness of my sin. It is like the valley the psalmists write about over & over. It is this heavy feeling that never seems to go away.

And March. Well, March is like Jesus. March brings newness. March brings promise that what is will not always be. March reminds me that the grave is open & Christ is risen! March signals the end of darkness & the beginning of new light.

I know March isn’t technically spring, but it is spring for my soul. It brings forth new hope that, even though I failed after January, February ends.

Jesus brings forth hope that, even though my sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. That in Him I am a new creation – the old, broken, failed, marred person is gone, and behold, the new has come.

March reminds me that the calendar moves forward. That Jesus moves forward & cleanses me of all unrighteousness.

I can claim my security in Christ because He has once & for all redeemed me – failure and all.

I don’t want to hope in my ability to muster up enough strength to make it through. I want my hope to be built on Christ alone. Not just resting on, but built upon Jesus. That His mercies are new every morning & my past sin, darkness, failures, etc. are forgotten by the Spotless One.

Perfect redemption is for you & me, today.
March is here.
February can suck it.

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done with the quick fix

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I remember being a young person – around 10 years old – and someone walking up to me, poking me in the stomach, and giggling like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. I kinda smirked and laughed it away, but inside I felt this sense of, “Yep. This is who I am. I’m the fat, funny one that everyone can poke and laugh at. This is the life I’m made to live.”

I was an athletic kid. I’ve basically always been the shortest on any team, but when I started ‘filling out’ people started poking me. And challenging me to pizza eating contests and laughing when I would win.

Fast forward a few years. I’m in high school where looks matter and if you don’t have looks, well, hopefully you’re willing to lean in hard to self-deprecating humor so you can make the joke before others, that way it doesn’t hurt as bad, ya know.

I made my friends by being the non-threatening chubby girl that would boost their ego, gossip about whoever they were gossiping about, and eat whatever they put in front of me because they “bet I really couldn’t eat that too!”

When I got to college it was time for a new me. I was playing softball, working out twice a day with my team, eating in a college cafeteria (which basically means you don’t eat because it’s gross), and making changes. That lasted about as long as it takes for someone to binge Making a Murderer – I ended up leaving the softball team and spiraling into loneliness and depression. And food. Because, ya know, that’s who I am – the chubby one.

The one that isn’t worthy of love. Or friendship. Or identity outside of a Pillsbury Dough Boy chuckle.


 

The thing about being a human is that, unless you are old (like 99, I think), you are probably going to struggle with the questions of, “Who am I with/without this thing/person/place? What am I supposed to do with my life? Where does my identity lie?”

At 24, I was still working through a pretty big heartbreak, finding out who my friends were and what Godly friendship looked like, and struggling with the ‘fact’ that no man could ever love me if I weighed what I weighed. I was going to the gym, working out at least three times a week, and still the girl that every guy saw as just-a-friend. And I was convinced it was because I was overweight.

I was living in this world that tells me I have to operate like The Biggest Loser. That if I’m not losing 13-27 pounds a week, I’m not trying hard enough. I believed that this transformation of body, heart, and mind was going to be as easy as 3 hours in a gym every week. If a quick-fix couldn’t fix me, nothing could.

I would work out and eat well for a solid period of time, get on the scale, and see little to no change. Then I would go right back to the chips and cheese and pasta and guilt and shame and worthlessness that entrapped me to begin with.

And I would do that with the sin in my life as well. I would muster up enough Kayla-strength to hold back acting on temptations, and as soon as I fell back in to sin, more guilt, shame, worthlessness, etc. flooded my life.

I desired a quick fix of my exterior appearance but wasn’t willing to do the hard work on the inside – exposing my sin before my Creator and allowing Him to remove the weight of sin in my life.

The issue? The way I viewed myself. The way I believed that no one could ever love me because of my weight. The way that I doubted God’s goodness for me because I wasn’t under 150 pounds. The way that I still let food and comfort control how I lived my life.


 

It’s now February 2016 and I’m 26 years old. I don’t let people poke me in the stomach any more. I try not to let food be my source of comfort (all of the time – as you’ve probably figured out if you’ve ever at any time read this blog, I love queso. And bacon.) I have friends that love me enough to say, “You will be okay. I will help you. We will help each other. You are not these lies you believe about yourself.”

I do believe that I can live my life in a healthy way – exercising and eating so that I can glorify God in my body, not to make my body or the scale my god.

I no longer believe that I need to lose 30 pounds in 30 minutes.

What I do believe, and what I’m learning, is that I am a beloved child of God. That I am loved, not only by God, but by people who see me for who God has made me. And I believe that all of life and all of sanctification is meant to be learned and grown in throughout all of life. I’m learning that giving myself grace is a process, and by shedding the guilt and shame that comes with trying and not succeeding, so going back to the same old habits, I’m shedding more weight than a literal pound can represent.


 

This past weekend I was at a baby shower of one of my best friends. Last April I celebrated another best and the impending arrival of her little one. 9 months apart the three of us took the same picture.

The biggest difference? I now see someone who is learning that her identity isn’t in her weight. Her identity isn’t in how her clothes look on her. Her identity isn’t in how many miles she can or cannot run without walking.

Her identity is in her Maker – who made her and calls her His, perfectly, whole, and without blemish.

“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”-Psalm 51: 6-7, 10

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pass on over, please

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One of my favorite things about the internet is that there is a never ending supply of stuff.

Just stuff, in general.

This week I opened my computer with the intention looking up a recipe and I ended up watching youtube videos of Tina Fey.

Stuff.

OR I have an issue with staying focused.

Who knows.

But seriously, that stuff can end up being really good stuff. Take, for instance, all of the amazing resources we have to learn and grow in our knowledge of God and His Word.

One of my favorite websites for this specific purpose is SheReadsTruth. I love the reading plans they come up with and the commentary they have on each passage read together.

Currently, SheReadsTruth is going through an Advent reading. Today’s reading was on Jesus being the True & Better Passover Lamb.

If you have not heard/read the story of the Passover, I HIGHLY encourage you to read Exodus 12 and get yourself familiar.

The first passover occurred when God commanded His people in Egypt to sacrifice a lamb,  spread it’s blood over their doors, and God passed over them, sparing them from death in their household.

Jesus is the True & Better Passover Lamb because His blood has made the final, once and for all, atonement for our sins. We are seen as righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf.

Blows. My. Mind. Every time.

In reading through the devotional material on SheReadsTruth, I came to this:

More often than not, I live under the weight of my own sin, as if Christ’s sacrifice isn’t enough to cover my own transgressions. I look around frantically for solutions to fix what I have broken, but overcorrecting only leads me to legalism – the opposite of freedom in Christ.

“Overcorrecting only leads me to legalism…”

Man. Yep. Ditto, sister.

Jesus is True and Better and Final and Forever. I can do no more and no less to earn His love or His redemption. It simply is.

I fail. I sin. I rebel against an Almighty God.

But I cannot dig myself out of that. I cannot correct my own ways. And trying to only leads to self-reliance and a belief that Jesus isn’t good enough. That somehow, His blood shed upon a cross just won’t cut it for me.

I may say I believe with my mouth, but my actions are speaking something totally different.

I want the freedom only Christ provides. Because I know it is there that I am truly able to rest in true satisfaction and live with deep peace and joy that can never be shaken.

That is my prayer for us – that we would know Jesus is True & Better.

*see Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy explain Passover before you go read about it 

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our smoggy culture

Russell-Brand-Net-Worth

There has been a video going around Facebook this week in which Russell Brand provides some very insightful views on the effects of porn on a person. This blog isn’t about that, but you can watch it here.

This blog is instead about something Russell said in his video. He refers to things like “50 Shades of Grey” and advertisements that objectify women (Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. anyone??) as cultural smog.

Smog – smoky fog. Something you can’t see through. Something that invades your space and can cause you to get of course pretty easily.

So what Russell is saying, essentially, is that something as simple as a commercial for a Twix bar can invade our minds/hearts and throw us off course.

I would argue similar things for relationships. In friendships it could be something as simple as your coffee pal needing to reschedule because the have a flat tire that can lead you down a road of questioning if they really like you.

A boy could forget to like your Facebook status about your Bible study and suddenly it’s like you don’t even exist.

The Christian could read ‘smog’ as ‘sin’. And I believe this particular smog/sin is typically inward. It’s idolatry of the heart – placing our affections on something or someone other than Jesus.

If we aren’t careful the cultural smog that is thick in our atmosphere can overtake our lives, security, peace, and identity and completely destroy us. We can allow sin to bury who we know Jesus to be as Redeemer.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8: 1, 5-6)

To set your mind on the Spirit is to rely on His clarity in your life and trust that the smog will filter it’s way out.

A wise man once told me that all truth is God’s truth, and I believe Russell spoke truth in his video. I encourage you to watch it, especially if pornography is something you struggle with.

My prayer for the week is that God would reveal to me the smog in my life. That He would open my eyes to see clearly the sin that so easily entangles me, and that He would cleanse me of all unrighteousness.

And next week we’ll talk about being air filters in our culture and what that can look like as followers of Jesus. (Like how I keep going with the air purity analogy? Ehh…I’m kinda over it now…)

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When Purity is about more than just not “Doin It”

It should be noted that I’m not mature enough to type out the technical term for “doin it” yet. I still giggle a little when I say it out loud.

I may still be a middle schooler.

Since I’m a girl and I grew up in a conservative church, I’ve had the “purity talk” many, many times. My entire adolescence was filled with True Love Waits rallies, awkward discussions about sexual activity, and talks about saving myself for marriage.

The problem with all of this was that I never knew why. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to “do it” with anyone but my husband, but the only motivation I had to wait until marriage was that God would be unhappy with me and I’d never be able to be redeemed from that sin.

I recently read a book by Beth Moore called “So Long Insecurity.” I can’t recommend this book highly enough for all the ladies in the house tonight. In it, Beth discusses our roots of insecurity, types of insecurity, identity issues, and what it looks like to fight to overcome insecurity.

In my journal I have the following quote from that book written down:

Contrary to the claims of our sensual culture, we were not created merely for sexual gratification.

What I love about this quote is that it’s reaffirming that I was not created for myself. But guess what, I wasn’t necessarily created for my husband either. I was created to bring glory to God.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.-Romans 12:1

My life–mind, body, spirit–is made to be a living sacrifice to the Lord.

But here’s the kicker. Purity in my life and relationships doesn’t mean just don’t have sex. (Ugh. I said it. And now I’m giggling) It doesn’t mean to find the line of what I can & cannot do with my boyfriend.

Purity goes beyond that. It means that I choose to chase after Jesus over chasing after a line that I may or may not cross with a guy. It means that I am held accountable to people around me that know my struggles of the flesh. It means that my motive is no longer to please myself, but to please God. It means that I was not created merely for sexual gratification, but that I was created to glorify God in my body (1 Corinthians 6:20).*

And for those of us that have struggled with sexual sin, guess what…we CAN be redeemed from that! We HAVE been redeemed from that!

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Jesus has made us–all of us–new. We can live in the freedom that He provides. We can chose to run away from the line and into the arms of Christ.

Purity is about more than just not doin it. Purity is about chasing after Jesus because He is better.

*I couldn’t have a post about sexual purity and not put something from 1 Corinthians in it. #typical

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